SDS will break down all 14 SEC schools and the challenges they face in recruiting, and how they overcome them. At the end, we’ll rank them in terms of who is set up best for success–based on factors like in-state talent, recent success on the field, fan expectations and the coaching situation. We will also give the school a ‘situation’ grade (A, B, C, D, F) in each category. Some states have an A-level volume of talent, others don’t … that’s how it will work. At the end of the series we’ll do a final overall ranking.
HOME STATE TALENT: “B” – Just like Alabama, Auburn can’t win SEC championships with just in-state talent, so the Tigers must do well across state borders–and Georgia is its favorite spot, thanks to proximity. State of Alabama talent is good, just not deep.
RECENT SUCCESS: “A” – If we were writing this last year at this time, this would be a ‘C’ because of the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but 2013 was a huge rebound and the Tigers are sexy again, as evidenced by the plethora of talent showing tons of interest in them.
FAN EXPECTATIONS: “A” – Just like with recent success, the buzz around the program after its SEC championship and run to the national title game has left a positive feeling with the fan base. Sure is different than 2012. The fans are upbeat, and recruits feel it.
COACHING STABILITY: “A” – In 2012, Gene Chizik would be given a ‘C’ here, but Gus Malzahn is now being looked at as the main reason for the 2010 season (as offensive coordinator) and the genius that brought the program in 2013. He’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
SUM IT UP: It is incredible how much things have changed in one year. In the spring of 2013, Auburn had to temper expectations of what it could get coming off a losing season and a coaching change. Now it can aim high for recruits and get almost anybody it wants. Amazing.
Editor’s note: Any reference to recruiting ratings in this series–team or individual–are to 247Sports.com’s industry composite ranking.